PG for language, thematic elements, and some teen smoking.
Oct. 12, 2007
Sean Astin, Powers Boothe, Larry Miller, Amy Acker, Ann Wedgeworth
David Mickey Evans
Warner Bros. Pictures Distribution
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'Final Season' is A Home Run for Families
By Belinda Elliott
CBN.com Daily Life Producer
- From the director of The Sandlot comes a new baseball movie that is fun for the whole family.
Based on a true story, The Final Season follows the journey of a high school baseball team in Norway, Iowa (population 586) as they prepare for their twentieth trip to the state championships. The year is 1991 and the team has already won 19 state titles. There is no doubt that they will be headed to the championships again this year.
The small town of Norway revolves around baseball. The art of the game has been passed down from father to son for generations. Young boys have grown up watching their older brothers play for the school and win state championships, and they have eagerly awaited the day when they could have the same honor.
However, things are about to change in Norway. Against the residents’ wishes, the Norway School Board decides that they are going to merge the school with a larger high school that is nearby. The decision means that after this year, there will no longer be a Norway baseball team.
Additionally, the board decides not to renew the contract of the team’s beloved Coach Jim Van Scoyoc (Powers Boothe). Instead, they tap the team’s fairly new assistant coach, Kent Stock (Sean Astin) to lead the team in their final season. Stock was formerly a girls’ volleyball coach, and Norway’s players doubt his ability to succeed in baseball.
As the players begin the season feeling dejected it is up to Coach Kent Stock to help them see the value in still giving it their all. “How do you want to be remembered?” he asks the team’s players.
What follows is an uplifting journey that offers drama, a bit of romance, and exciting baseball.
The entire cast delivers solid performances including up and coming star 19-year-old Michael Angarano (Sky High, Lords of Dogtown). Angarano portrays Mitch, a rebellious teen. His father has sent him to live with his grandparents in Norway in the hopes that they will help him stay out of trouble.
The teen soon learns that his defiant shenanigans won’t fly in small-town Norway; they will only earn him more hard work on his grandpa’s farm. After his grandparents suggest that he find a hobby to stay out of trouble, he ends up as one of Norway’s baseball players where he learns what it means to be a part of a team.
The film is rated PG, but there are hardly any objectionable elements. Apart from a glimpse of a teen smoking, there is not much here for parents to be concerned about.
In fact, the movie does a grand job of illustrating the principles of integrity, perseverance, and hard work. The team’s members learn that winning isn’t always the most important thing. What their coach teaches them to be most concerned about is playing the game right and giving their teammates their best regardless of the outcome.
The fact that the film is based on a true story makes it even more compelling. Norway sent at least 16 players on to play professional baseball, including Nathan Frese who was a member of the 1991 team depicted in the film. Frese went on to play for the Chicago Cubs for seven years. Dozens of other Norway players went on to play ball in college.
Baseball has become a national pastime that is fun for the whole family, and this movie really captures that down-home, family feel. Much like the sport that it depicts, The Final Season has the power to bring together family members of all ages for an enjoyable afternoon.
At its core the film is a heart-warming tale that reminds us to persevere and do the right thing even when it’s tough.
And the overarching question that the film asks, “How do you want to be remembered?” is a question that we would all do well to ask ourselves.
Want to know more? Visit www.TheFinalSeason.com.
Interested in the true story behind the film? Visit www.NorwayBaseball.com
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Comments? Email me
More articles by Belinda Elliott on CBN.com
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